Cabarrus

Concord gardens open to help a cause

Thousands of plants and flowers and five local gardens will support one local cause.

The Junior Charity League's fourth annual Spring Garden Tour, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 4, is a self-guided exploration of downtown Concord residents' private gardens. Gardens also will feature food from local restaurants or caterers.

Proceeds support the work of the league, an organization of women that has promoted volunteerism in Cabarrus County since 1930. The nonprofit's biggest project provides new school clothing for nearly 1,500 students each year in Cabarrus County.

The garden tour began in 2008 as part of a city revitalization effort that used downtown Concord's ornate public and private outdoor spaces to promote the area, according to league representative Emily Powell.

Gardens at a glance

The following descriptions were provided by the league and garden hosts and edited for style and content. The letters indicate their positioning on a map available online, at www.jclofconcord.com/GardenTourMap.aspx

A: 621 Hermitage Drive S.E.: Cabarrus County natives Bob and Carolyn Tucker's 33-acre garden will be featured for the second year in a row. (Golf cart tours are available.) Enter the garden through the Aurora pathway, lined with moss, hostas, wildflowers, ferns and shrubs. Stairs around a granite fountain lead to the couple's German Tudor home. Etched into the side of a hill is Carolyn's Secret Place, where Lenten rose grows alongside shade plants. A waterfall and koi pond, added behind the house in 1992, accent a pathway that leads to a jasmine garden. Under the cypress arbor, stones and artifacts from biblical sites in Israel are cemented into a wall. Two bench swings wait in the shade in the "bog" below.

B: 424 Winfield Blvd. S.E.: This residence was built in the 1950s for Harold Hornaday, former president of Cannon Mills Co. Frank and Sharon Plummer bought it in 1998, when it was "void of flowers, or anything else that bloomed," they wrote. A covered patio and rose bushes were added from their former home in Salisbury. The couple also removed several leaning pine trees along the rear property line, where they erected a retaining wall with a variety of perennials that play host to birds all year.

C: 83 Union St. N.: John and Susan Schneider's backyard garden is a family oasis. A 75-foot lap pool, family pool and hot tub serve as a focal point. The infinity-edge pool also features fountains, a tanning platform and boulders for jumping into the deep end. An outdoor kitchen under the pergola, ensconced in Lady Banks roses, completes the design. Traditional Southern plants - crape myrtles, gardenias, azaleas, hydrangeas, camellias, hostas and dogwoods - dot the landscape. Daylilies, black-eyed susans, iris and other perennials provide continual color throughout summer. A small boxwood garden provides structure in the center of a stone patio that leads to the far backyard. Accenting the hardscape and plantings are several pieces by Seagrove potter Daniel Johnston.

D: 61 Grove Ave. N.W.: Jim and Shelley Williams' two-story red brick home, a former church building, provides an architectural backdrop to a mixed evergreen border of tea olives, viburnums, camellias, black bamboo and other plants. A small backyard with interlocking patios offer an al fresco dining area beside a tranquil, more secret garden and rustic water feature. It is abundant in rhododendrons, azaleas, ferns and other woodland groundcovers. Boulders help bring out a relaxed North Carolina mountain feel. Several Japanese maples accent the well-shaded back garden, which blooms primarily in white. Contrasting the structured and subtle color palette of the back, the front yard erupts in color. Among the couple's favorite perennials are dahlias, peonies, ornamental grasses and daylilies.

E: 24 Spring St. N.W.: The home of Cary and Kim Hocutt was built in 1923 in the Queen Ann Revival style. Their garden hints at the history and age of the home. The garden beds, most of them raised, were planted to mimic an overgrown English garden. Perennials, boxwoods and small understory trees mix with English roses, an herb garden, a large collection of daylilies, huge hostas, a fish pond, a patio and a screened porch. The garden design also incorporates a collection of large pottery urns and planters, some by Seagrove's Daniel Johnston. The garden design and plantings were started about 12 years ago, but the Hocutts hope their garden looks timeless.

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